You turned a corner inside the little rowboat
and burst into a million colours.
I thought we were on a fishing trip.
I thought we were in a rowboat.
I thought I knew who you were.
At any rate who you had been.
My father: hat, face, rod, oars,
jokes, wounds, lunch box, insect repellent.
You turned a corner and through you
I could see so clearly the white light and all the stones
at the bottom of the lake.
No, not Lake Madeleine.
The universe, which is a lake, and now I knew it had a bottom.
Through you I could so clearly see
webby spongy hands, angelfish and crabs bigger than the Eagle Galaxy,
all walking slowly backwards on the bottom.
As if you had been
the glass woman in the science museum, with her veins blue, arteries red,
and nerves the colour of every fear I had.
Something about empty boathouses along a shore.
Losing one’s job. Trips to the dentist.
Divorce. Skin operations. Psychiatrists. Being caught
under a tree in the rain on a golf course
and hoping to be struck by lightning, and not,
and hoping I wouldn’t notice—as lightning struck
the neon sign over the ninth hole in the distance
and everything went Ray Bradbury pink.
Just as you stooped to pick up more bait from the bucket. The real you.
Bait. What was really under
the faded yellow tee shirt, the clean jeans, the broken nose, the soft socks,
the hands, the watery blue eyes that you hadn’t minded giving to me.
Bait. Aceaseless attracter of spasms of love, of spasms of hunger,
that the spasms of God know all the time, me this once, you never.
O Scene Changer!—sometimes You forget
to include the amnesia.